A Tory MP told a girl to "f*** off back to Scotland" when she said she'd vote for independence if a second referendum was triggered.
James Heappey's outburst came as he addressed sixth-formers at the £12,000-a-year Millfield School in Somerset.
The Conservative, who is contesting the seat of Wells, asked the children for their views as they discussed the topic of Scottish independence. When one girl said she'd vote to leave the UK, Mr Heappey, 36, replied: "Why don't you f*** off back to Scotland?"
The teenager left the meeting and complained to her father, who supports the Scottish National Party.
Mr Heappey has since sent her a written apology and insists he was joking. He told the Sunday Mirror: "I made a comment – intended only as a joke – but it was inappropriate and I am deeply sorry for any offence caused.
“I wrote to [the pupil] soon after the school brought her concerns to my attention and apologised unreservedly.”
The former army major was elected as an MP in 2015 after working as a researcher for Conservative Liam Fox.
Tessa Munt, the Lib Dem standing against Mr Heappey, said: “School is meant to be a safe place. We send our children to school in the expectation that they will be treated fairly and with respect by people in positions of power.
“I am utterly shocked that the then MP has used bullying, racist and abusive language to dismiss a teenage schoolgirl engaging in political debate.”Reuse content